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    6 self-awareness tests for small business owners

    Being an effective leader requires self-awareness. It also helps to recognize the behavioural tendancies and personalities of those you work with.

    Knowing what motivates the way you act and the decisions you make (and what holds you back) can help you run your business better and evolve as a person. If your team takes on the same self-reflection, you can all become stronger communicators and collaborators.

    Here are six different self-awareness tests you can take today to get to know yourself better. DISC, Kolbe, Strengthsfinder and Birkman are more business-oriented. Myers-Briggs and Enneagram take on a more holistic approach. Take a look and see what resonates the most with you.


    DISC Profile

    You can take the test here for $65 USD. Tony Robbins also offers it for free.

    The DISC profile is based on psychologist William Marston, who developed the four DISC areas of behaviour: dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness (or compliance).

    DISC profiles help you and your team:

    • Increase your self-knowledge: learn how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress, and how you solve problems
    • Improve working relationships by recognizing the communication needs of team members
    • Facilitate better teamwork and teach productive conflict
    • Develop stronger sales skills by identifying and responding to customer styles
    • Manage more effectively by understanding the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members


    DISC Quadrants



    Cost $79

    Kolbe measures your instinctive way of doing things and the result is called your MO (method of operation). Gain greater understanding of your own human nature and begin the process of maximizing your potential. You’ll discover the freedom to be yourself and learn to stop doing things that don’t work for you. Learn how to focus your time and energy to be more productive and achieve your goals.

    You are graded on four modes of operation: Fact Finder, Follow Thru, Quick Start and Implementor. Whenever you are in striving, action-mode, or creative problem-solving mode, your MO will be in place. Your modes of operation having nothing to do with how smart you are or your social style; it's about how you may or may not naturally take action.

    The four-number Kolbe A result will direct you toward more effective communication, career choices and study habits. Relationships with loved ones and co-workers will start to feel more natural because you’ll learn to trust your instincts instead of trying to change each other.




    Gallup and Tom Rath ($20)

    Buy the book, then go to the website and enter the code from the book to take the test.

    StrengthsFinder 2.0 can help you become more productive, experience less stress, and have more fun at work. 

    There are 34 themes of strengths, and your test results will discuss your five strengths. This book can be read in one sitting, but the insights will change the way you look at yourself forever.

    This test is great if you're looking to stop wasting time doing work you’re not good at. Focus your time on what you're naturally talented at (your Unique Ability), and you'll be more likely to reach your potential. Surround yourself with people that have different strengths from you, and avoid spending time developing areas of weakness.



    Birkman Method

    The Birkman Method is an online personality, social perception, and occupational interest assessment, which uses colours to measure occupational interests, usual behaviors, interpersonal needs and environmental expectations.

    The self-directed Basic Report ( costs $129 and takes about 30-45 minutes.

    Your report will show you where you land on the Birkman Colour Key for each of your needs, usual behaviours, interests, and stresses. The four quadrants run from extrovert to introvert (vertical axis) and task- to people-oriented (horizontal axis). 

    Birkman Method Quadrants


    It's designed to provide insight into what specifically drives a person's behavior, with the goal of creating greater choice and more self-responsibility. It attempts to measure social behaviors, underlying expectations of interpersonal and task actions, potential stress reactions to unmet expectations, occupational preferences and organizational strengths. The Birkman gives you a grading on your interest levels of activities that represent important motivators to you. These include Scientific, Numerical, Literary, Artistic, Musical, Outdoor, Persuasive and Social Services.

    The Birkman does a great job at showing you your strengths. It then gives you a career exploration overview, and lets you know what industries might be a natural fit based on your scores.



    Cost $50 USD

    This test is based on the theory of psychological traits described by Carl Jung. Myers-Briggs has 16 different, four-letter personality types. The letters come from recognizing your preference in four categories. Here’s how the website describes the categories:

    Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).

    Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

    Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).

    Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

    Here’s where you can take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) online. Knowing your personality type will help you understand what “makes you tick, how you relate to others, and how you can benefit from this knowledge in everyday life.”



    From the Enneagram Institute: “At its core, the Enneagram helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge.”

    Enneagram outlines nine different personality types: the Peacemaker, the Challenger, the Enthusiast, the Loyalist, the Investigator, the Individualist, the Achiever, the Helper and the Reformer. Most people will identify with a few of them, but one will stand out as your Basic Personality Type. You can take the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) to identify your Basic Personality Type.

    Within each personality type is a continuum of Levels of Development that range from “healthy” to “unhealthy.” You can read more about how the Enneagram works.


    Have you taken a personality test for work before? Which ones have you liked? Which ones are best for teams?

    Read more about Entrepreneur  topics that may be helpful to you and your small business. 


    Photo credit to Mehran Babaee on Unsplash

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